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Washington Monument - A Washington, DC National Landmark

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Washington Monument - A Washington, DC National Landmark Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Washington Monument, a memorial to George Washington, our nation's first president, is the most prominent landmark in Washington, DC and stands as the centerpiece of the National Mall. It is the tallest structure in Washington, DC and measures 555 feet 5 1/8 inches high. Fifty flags surround the base of the Washington Monument symbolizing the 50 states of America. See Photos of the Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is one of the country's most recognizable structures, a white-colored obelisk at the west end of the National Mall. An elevator takes visitors to the top to see a spectacular view of Washington, DC including unique perspectives of the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and the Capitol Building. Sylvan Theater, an outdoor amphitheater located near the base of the Washington Monument, is a popular venue for a wide range of events including free concerts and live theatrical performances, commemorative ceremonies, rallies and protests.

Address:

Constitution Ave. and 15th St. SW.
Washington, DC
(202) 426-6841
See a map and directions to the National Mall

The nearest Metro Stations are Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza

Hours:

Note: The Washington Monument will reopen on May 12, 2014. A re-opening ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. (details to be announced) The Monument has been closed since August 23, 2011, due to damage received in a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. It is now in the final stages of the restoration, which included repairs to more than 150 cracks in the structure. Because of the closure,  the Monument will begin extended operating hours on May 12 and will be open from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. through the end of summer.

Open daily except December 25.
Regular hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Memorial Day through Labor Day, the hours are extended until 10:00 p.m.

Admission:

Free time assigned tickets are required. Visitors may obtain same day tickets at the Washington Monument Lodge located on the 15th Street side of the monument, midway between Constitution and Independence Avenues. Tickets are distributed beginning at 8:30 a.m. daily until tickets for that day are gone. During peak season, arrive early to avoid long lines. Advance tickets are also available for $1.50 service fee. Call (877) 444-6777 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. or make your reservation online.

Visitor Screening

Due to security concerns following September 11, 2001, a temporary facility was built in front of the Washington Monument for visitor screening. A permanent structure has been proposed to include a glass pavilion that would provide queuing space for up to 25 visitors, screening equipment, an office, and a staff restroom. A preliminary plan has been approved by the National Capital Planning Commission.

History of the Washington Monument

Many proposals were made to build a monument dedicated to George Washington following the victory of the American Revolution. After his death, Congress authorized the construction of a memorial in the nation's capital. Architect Robert Mills designed the Monument with an elaborate plan for a tall obelisk topped with a statue of Washington standing in a chariot and a colonnade with statues of 30 Revolutionary War heroes. Construction of the Washington Monument began in 1848. However, the design was simplified and not completed until 1884, due to lack of funds during the Civil War. Beginning in July 1848 the Washington National Monument Society invited states, cities and patriotic societies to contribute memorial stones to commemorate George Washington. The 192 memorial stones adorn the interior walls of the monument.

From 1998 to 2000, the Washington Monument was restored and a new information center was built just below the observation deck. In 2005, a new wall was constructed around the monument to improve security. A 5.8 earthquake in August 2011, damaged the elevator and portions of the monument between 475 feet and 530 feet above ground. Repairs are expected to take up to 18 months and cost $15 million.

Official Website: http://www.nps.gov/wamo/home.htm

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